Costume Drama

A Sarasota Theater Inspires a New York Designer's Closet

Alba Clemente's New York closet is modeled after the Historic Asolo Theater.

By Kay Kipling August 31, 2016 Published in the September 2016 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Alba clemente closet idczom

The fanciful wardrobe Alba Clemente modeled after the Historic Asolo Theater.

If you’ve ever attended a performance at the Historic Asolo Theater at the John & Mable Ringling Museum, the picture above will look familiar. But don’t let your eyes fool you; the image, which recently appeared in a New York magazine article, is actually a photograph of a private space modeled after the 18th-century theater. Thank New York costume and set designer Alba Clemente, wife of famed artist Francesco Clemente. Alba, who told New York she’s always been “obsessed by theaters,” turned part of her husband’s Greenpoint studio into a theater for her clothes—some 200 designer outfits she’s collected over the years. Her friend, artist Jim Long, searched photos of theater interiors until he found this one of the Asolo, which was built in 1798 inside the palace of Caterina Cornaro in Asolo, Italy, and transported to Sarasota in the 1950s. He added red velvet curtains, canvas panels, and it was show time for Alba’s outfits.

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